Friday, January 21, 2011

When Plants and Planets Align

"Have faith in yourself and the rest will follow." ~ Yesterday's Horoscope

'Love' clearly knows no bounds:
Bleeding Hearts grow as happily in Alaska as they do in San Diego.

In the mood for a love story? I'll keep it short.. and promise it's sweet. Some friendships easily stand the test of time, though years after the fact, my buddy Bev and I will still readily admit we're an unlikely pair of friends.

She always believed that somewhere in this great big world she'd find her soul mate. Unlike some of us, she never grew weary of the search. In sharp contrast, I'd married my soul mate, was reeling from a painful divorce, and thought it best to run in the opposite direction - at a very fast clip! - should I ever encounter another soul mate.

Awhile back, she tried online dating, at catholicmatch.com. Far, far away, a prince of a fellow spotted her profile. She read his emails and they... just. knew.

Fast forward a few years and dear Bev is happily married and living in Italy. (Stop rolling your eyes! I am NOT making this up!) In a quaint little village that no one has ever heard of. Except for... my next door neighbor? Yep. My neighbor works for a company based in that same tiny town and never misses an opportunity to lay on the guilt trip. "I can't believe you haven't been over there to visit!"

Amazing, huh? It gets better. I'm a freelancer, celebrating 10 years of working at home, in my jammies, and for all those 10 years my most favorite client is the one that's based in Europe. So, I could go over there at any time. They would love the idea of working face to face, instead of on the phone. Only I'm a big fat chicken. The thought of traveling alone, (to a foreign country!) did not sound fun at all.

Until recently.

Alstroemeria, in potted plant form, will flower all winter long in a sunny window.

If you've been on this blog before, you may know that 2010 was a year I would gladly erase from the memory banks. No need to revisit dark passages, though I'm beset with one strange, constant feeling: my world keeps getting smaller and smaller. I work from home, putz in the garden and play with my horses. And, that's it. Geez. Thanks to the miracles of Tivo I don't even watch the news any more. (Well, I do, but I fast forward through the unhappy stuff. And, since it's all unhappy stuff my fast forward button is getting a serious work out.) Perhaps it's time to make a change?

Tigiridia, Mexican Shellflower, is a great bulb to grow indoors. (Needs no forcing.) Behind her, summer leftovers. I'm such a cheapskate that I bring flowering annuals into the house at the end of the season. Gotta get my money's worth! :)

So, Bev and I started talking. And, one thing led to another. And...

I'm taking the plunge. 2011 = the year of hiking bravely out of my comfort zone. I depart on 2/1 and will be working in Italy for a whole month.

And, needless to say... I'm all in a panic. Now, who's gonna water the houseplants??

Toss a few seeds in a pot and Johnny Jump Ups 
will add great cheer to your house in winter time. 

3 Tips 4 Happy House Plants:
  • Flowering houseplants need to be re-potted at least once per year because they quickly gobble up all of the soil's nutrients.
  • Water when the top of the soil is dry. Cool window temps aren't necessarily bad, cooler air creates much-needed humidity.
  • Highly diluted fertilizer, every couple of weeks, encourages tons of bright blossoms.

46 comments:

Alison said...

Congratulations! How exciting! I'd love to go to Italy.

Eat lots of fabulous food!

Marguerite said...

Kate, that's wonderful! Stepping outside of our comfort zone is difficult but can be so rewarding. I travelled once alone and it was scary and difficult but I learned so much and am much stronger for it. I hope you enjoy this very much.

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

Good for you. Enjoy the warm and all the excitement exploring a new place provides.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Alison!

I imagine I'll be pleasingly plump by the time I return. ;>)

OmegaMom said...

Oh, wow! What a great opportunity! Italy...land of romance, culture, and good food. Do please try to blog some while you're there, but not too much--we'll expect you to be out and about soaking in Italy's sights, sounds, and scents!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Margeurite!
You did it?? You survived?? Well, obviously you did. I just know I'll get on the wrong train and end up in Slovakia.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx Susan;
Watching that Eat, Pray, Love movie started this whole ball rolling... Naturally, I had to buy a pair of aviator sunglasses so I could be just like Julia.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hey, O!

I am gonna blog. I think it might be fun to show off the tiny town of Bressanone...

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

If I was close enough I would water your plants and say you go girl. LOL! What a wonderful step you are taking. I know how you feel about taking those first steps alone. You can do it Kate your braver than you know and you will be making beautiful memories. Just do not forget us back here and post many pictures.Okay?

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Wouldn't dream of it, Lona!

I have a feeling I'll have lots of 'oops' stories to tell about my attempts with public transportation. I was googling just now and they seem to grow some very pretty flowers -- I'm hoping to snag some special seeds while over there, as well.

A Garden of Threads said...

OHMYGOSH Kate this is fantastic news. I would come water your plants if I did not live so far away. I hope you have a wonderful time. Send lots of pictures back and lots of stories. Best wishes my friend, Jen.

Snowcatcher said...

I, too, would flowersit if I could! I'm so excited for you! Just think of the pictures and stories you'll get!

My garden sitter flaked beyond the last minute last year, after I left for Ride the Rockies. So my garden had no one tending it for eight whole days. And of course, we were in drought conditions. Of course.

I lost a few things, but I saved a bunch, too. Don't you dare worry about your babies while you are gone! Italy will be so worth it!

Shady Gardener said...

If I lived closer, I'd water your plants!!! Suppose you'll have time to post - and keep us informed? Love the bleeding heart photos... You are going to have a Wonderful Adventure!! Plus, you already know someone there (a best friend!). Enjoy, enjoy!!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Jenn!

EEEK! I'm sure I'll have fun when I get over there but I'm a basket case right now..

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hey Snowcatcher!

I'll house sit for you this year. Of course, I'll probably re-design your entire garden while snooping through every drawer in your house. You won't even recognize the joint by the time you get back from your bike ride. ;>)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Shady;

I'll bet you have plenty of grand spots for Bleeding Hearts. I squeeze as many as I can into what shady spots this yard provides. Thanks for the good wishes.

sweetbay said...

Good for you! I'm glad to hear you plan to blog from Italy.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Happy Friday, Sweetbay;

I am! But, I might try blogging in Italian. That should be a brief post. :D

Ramona said...

Kate I'm glad you're finally taking the plunge! Have fun in Italy! Hope 2011 will be a year filled with happy memories for you!

Mac_fromAustralia said...

What a wonderful opportunity. Wishing you a fantastic time!

Li'l Ned said...

Hey Kate, good for you. The worst part will be dealing with security at US airports. :) And if you end up in Slovakia, well, they have gardens there too. And although I have never traveled in Italy, I have always found most everyday people on the streets, even in big cities, are helpful and generous in steering foreign guests to the proper place. And most people in Western Europe speak at last some English. Learn 'please' and 'thank you' and 'where is the loo?' in Italian and you will be fine. If you speak Spanish, use it. It is a very fine substitute for actual Italian.

Li'l Ned said...

Besides, there were just too many (not) coincidences leading up to this to ignore. It was meant to be. Thus you will have the time of your life and all will unfold beautifully. Guaranteed.

Town Mouse said...

Kate, Congratulations! You'll have a great time. Now go to the library and order some good language learning tapes. I'm partial to Pimsleur and don't like RosettaStone, but just pick something. It will make a big difference if you at least know the greetings, numbers, and names of common food items.

Can't wait to hear about your trip!

noel said...

aloha/buon gourno - how exciting italy i going to be exciting but still very cold that time of year so bundle up..keep smiling and those italians will love you - enjoy!

ProfessorRoush said...

You only live once. That being said, remember that "Eat Pray Love" was a movie so don't get too disappointed by reality. Of course, it IS Italy.

nancy said...

Awesome!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Ramona!
I was just snooping around over at your blog. Wind is blowing so hard up here that it's snowing sideways. And, I'm gonna try to avoid going outdoors until it stops! :)

Thx Mac; Appreciate the good wishes.

Very helpful advice, L'il Ned.
I did not know that Spanish was a good sub for Italian. As a SW gal, I, of course, know a good bit of Spanish...

And, thx to you, too, Town Mouse; I will most definitely pick up a phrase book and practice a bit. :)

Yes, it will be very cold Noel
I'll be in the Alps. So, my grand plan is to warm up with Sambuca and Gnocchi :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Very thought provoking post today, Prof.

Now stop raining on my parade... just kidding.

Liza said...

You should consider carrying your essentials and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage in case your other bags are lost or delayed. When I was in Rome, I was without my bags for the first five days I was there. I thought New Mexico was the only "land of manana" but nope, Italy is, too.

eileeninmd said...

WOW, congrats. I hope you enjoy your trip to Italy. Not all work I hope! BTW, I love your shots of the bleeding hearts, they are one of my favorites.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Oooh, that's a goodie, Liza;
I've been stranded without my bags and it is NO fun. Thanks for the tip. I will do just that.

Glad you like the flowers, E:
I spend so much time drooling over your pretty bird photos, it makes me happy to hear I could reciprocate the favor. :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You can't ask for better timing. February is such a blah month. I can't wait to hear all about your trip. The gardens, the flowers, the birds, the people, the wildlife. Of course I mean nature. ;) Italians are wonderful fun people. You will have a blast. Ahh don't forget to work so you can go back again and again. When you get back we will talk birds of your area.

troutbirder said...

This is absolutely great. I like enthusiasm, adventure and stepping out of that zone. Blog it so we can all enjoy.

Janie said...

Hi Kate,
How fun to find the blog of a fellow Utahn, especially a horse person.
Your February trip sounds like a great idea, full of adventure. I hope you'll post once in a while. I want to enjoy the adventure vicariously!
BTW, your flower photos are gorgeous.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Lisa!
Feb IS a blah month and that's why I chose it. Right about the time cabin fever generally kicks in I'm hopping a plane and getting the heck outta here. ;) I'm thrilled to hear you're willing to give me some advice about birding. :D Could be a fun, new hobby!

Thx for the vote of confidence, Troutbirder.
That book might be the one to keep me busy on my long, tiresome flight.

Hi, Janie!
Thrilled to have discovered your blog, too. I thank Troutbirder for connecting us. Maybe we can hit the trails with our horses this summer.

Gail said...

Kate, Wonderful news! I am so glad for you~You can easily replace plants! But the memories you'll make are going to be with you forever! gail

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

I am so excited for you! I always dig out favorite movies that show scenes of Tuscany/Italy to get me through the darkest days of winter. The light always seems so golden and beautiful in these movies.
I've traveled on my own before and it is fine as long as you keep your wits about you and don't place yourself in a situation that could pose a problem. But your smart. You can do it! Just think of the wonderful adventures you will have. I look forward to posts from Italy.

Liz said...

Have tons of fun! I'm slightly jealous, but I'm also a little wary of traveling too...

Rose said...

It's good to step out of our comfort zones every once in awhile, and I can't think of a more exciting way to do it than to take a trip to Italy! I know you will be working, too, but you will have so much fun. Looking forward to seeing all the beautiful pictures when you return.

I hope you find a kind soul to water your lovely plants. Enjoy your stay, Kate!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Gail;
You're right. I say that all the time. They're just plants. Get a new one. But, then I don't practice what I preach... A friend has volunteered to watch the Orchids - they're all so close to flowering - someone should enjoy their beauty while I'm gone. The rest can fend for themselves.

Hi, Jennifer;
I'm just a little nervous about getting around without a car. (How very American of me, huh?) I appreciate your faith in my abilities. Gotta get me some of that. :)

Thx, Liz;
I imagine some of this is pre-getaway jitters. A month is a long time...

Hey, Rose;
Thank you for the kind thoughts. I believe you're doing the same thing this summer? Hopefully, I can bring you back pictures, travel tips and a fun story or two...

One said...

All the best to you, Kate. You have such beautiful flowers and your photos are awesome. I hope you continue to share when you are in Italy.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, One;
Your pet photos are, indeed, therapeutic. I'd like to take them all home with me. :)

Wendy said...

This is SUCH an awesome story. My friend at work is in a very dark place after a recent break up with someone who was NOT the one, but whom she worked it in her mind to be. I'm not optimistic that she would be able to take the plunge - at least not anytime in the near (or maybe even distant) future. I think it's exciting that you're stepping outside of your comfort zone. That's always really exciting - and a lot scary sometimes too.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Wendy!
Glad you enjoyed it. Steer your sad friend to catholicmatch.com? After Bev's wonderful experience we're thinking it blows the doors off eharmony. :)))

joey said...

Excellent news, Kate! Wish I lived near to help you out. Visiting Italy is a dream of mine ... you must take tons of photos so I can drool :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

'bout time I made you drool, Joey!

Seeing as how that's all I ever do when I'm peering at your gorgeous photography. ;>)